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See below for a selection of the latest books from Social theory category. Presented with a red border are the Social theory books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Social theory books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
In an era where new areas of life and new problems call for normative solutions while the plurality of values in society challenge the very basis for normative solutions, this book looks at a growing field of research on the relations between social and legal norms. New technologies and social media offer new ways to communicate about normative issues and the centrality of formal law and how normativity comes about is a question for debate. This book offers empirical and theoretical research in the field of social and legal norms and will inspire future debate and research in terms of internationalization and cross-national comparative studies. It presents a consistent picture of empirical research in different social and organizational areas and will deepen the theoretical understanding regarding the interplay between social and legal norms. Including chapters written from four different aspects of normativity, the contributors argue that normativity is a result of combinations between law in books, law in action, social norms and social practice. The book uses a variety of different international examples, ranging from Sweden, Uzbekistan, Colombia and Mexico. Primarily aimed at scholars in sociology of law, socio-legal studies, law and legal theory, the book will also interest those in sociology, political science and psychology.
Why, since the financial crisis of 2008, has neoliberal capitalism remained seemingly impregnable? Why, when it is shown as no longer capable of delivering on its economic promises does its logic pervade all facets of contemporary life? How has it seduced us? This book examines the seductive appeal of neoliberalism by understanding it as a fundamentally counter-cultural logic. Unlike earlier modes of capitalism, neoliberalism is infused by spirit of rebellion and self-creation, with the idealised neoliberal subject overturning traditional morality whilst creating new modes of being based on risk and excess. Tracing the development of the logic of neoliberalism from its beginnings in the thought of Friedrich Hayek in the wake of the post-war period, through the work of neoconservative writers overcoming and moving beyond what they perceived as the nihilism of both the counter-culture and capitalism of the 1960s and 70s, to its establishment as a new moral order underpinning the economic system from the 1980s onwards, the author argues that it is only through a clear understanding of the seduction of neoliberalism that it can be overcome by reimagining our relationships to work and society.
This book offers a critical analysis of consumer credit markets and the growth of outstanding debt, presenting in-depth interview material to explore the phenomenon of mass indebtedness through the life trajectories of self-identified debtors struggling with the pressures of owing money. A rich and original qualitative study of the close relationship between financial capitalism, consumer aspirations, social exclusion and the proliferation of personal indebtedness, The Dark Side of Prosperity examines questions of social identity, subjectivity and consumer motivation in close connection with the socio-cultural ideals of an 'enjoyment society' that binds the value of the lives of individuals to the endless acquisition and disposal of pecuniary resources and lifestyle symbols. Critically engaging with the work of Giddens, Beck and Bauman, this volume draws on the thought of contemporary philosophers including Zizek, Badiou and Ranciere to consider the possibility that the expansion of outstanding consumer credit, despite its many consequences, may be integral to the construction of social identity in a radically indeterminate and increasingly divided society. A ground-breaking work of critical social research this book will appeal to scholars of social theory, contemporary philosophy and political and economic sociology, as well as those with interests in consumer credit and cultures of indebtedness.
This book considers the lessons learnt so far from the emergence of the Internet and the development of the field of Internet studies, whilst also considering possible directions for the future. Examining broad media theories and emerging theorisations around the Internet specifically, it explores the possibility of the development of an Internet theory in the future. A comprehensive overview of the field, Internet Studies considers key issues of social importance that the study of the Internet draws upon, such as the role of the Internet in civic participation and democratisation, the development of virtual communities, digital divides and social inequality, as well as Internet governance and policy control. At the same time, it examines the role of the Internet in social research and the development of highly interdisciplinary and rapidly developing Internet research. Hence, this volume maps key areas of certainty and uncertainty in the field of Internet studies and, as such, it will be of interest to scholars and students of media and communication, sociology and social research methods.
This book offers a new account of Freud's work by reading him as the social theorist and philosopher he always aspired to be, and not as the medical scientist he publicly claimed to be. In doing so, the author demonstrates that's Freud's social, moral, and cultural thought constitutes the core of his life's work as a theorist, and is the thread that binds his voluminous writings together: from his earliest essays on the neuroses, to his foundational writings on dreams and sexuality, and to his far-ranging reflections on art, religion, and the dynamics of culture. Returning to the fundamental questions and concerns that animate Freud's work - the nature of evil; the origins of religion, morality, and tradition; and the looming threat of resurgent barbarism - Freud as a Social and Cultural Theorist provides the first systematic re-examination of Freud's social and cultural thought in more than a generation. As such, it will be of interest to social and cultural theorists, social philosophers, intellectual and cultural historians, and those with interests in psychoanalysis and its origins.
Professor Margaret Archer is a leading critical realist and major contemporary social theorist. This edited collection seeks to celebrate the scope and accomplishments of her work, distilling her theoretical and empirical contributions into four sections which capture the essence and trajectory of her research over almost four decades. Long fascinated with the problem of structure and agency, Archer's work has constituted a decade-long engagement with this perennial issue of social thought. However, in spite of the deep interconnections that unify her body of work, it is rarely treated as a coherent whole. This is doubtless in part due to the unforgiving rigour of her arguments and prose, but also a byproduct of sociology's ongoing compartmentalisation. This edited collection seeks to address this relative neglect by collating a selection of papers, spanning Archer's career, which collectively elucidate both the development of her thought and the value that can be found in it as a systematic whole. This book illustrates the empirical origins of her social ontology in her early work on the sociology of education, as well as foregrounding the diverse range of influences that have conditioned her intellectual trajectory: the systems theory of Walter Buckley, the neo-Weberian analysis of Lockwood, the critical realist philosophy of Roy Bhaskar and, more recently, her engagement with American pragmatism and the Italian school of relational sociology. What emerges is a series of important contributions to our understanding of the relationship between structure, culture and agency. Acting to introduce and guide readers through these contributions, this book carries the potential to inform exciting and innovative sociological research.
Generations: The Time Machine in Theory and Practice challenges the fragmented and diverse use of the concept of generation commonly found in the social sciences. It approaches the concept in a manner that stretches the sociological imagination away from its orientation toward the present by building the concept of the passage of time into our understanding of the social. It proposes an innovative and exciting view of the field of generations, lifting it out from life course and cohort analysis, and reconstituting the area with fresh and dynamic ways of seeing. With its unique, intellectually innovative and sustained critical study of generational work, Generations will appeal to scholars across a range of social sciences and humanities, and will be of particular interest to social theorists and anthropologists, as well as sociologists of social history, consumption, identity and culture.
This is not a conventional biography but an attempt to explore the motives and intentions that underpin Talcott Parsons' published work by exploring the reasoning Parsons shares with his readers in the pages of his many published works and the possible links between Parsons' academic outputs and the social, economic and political situations in which Parsons found himself during the course of his life. Shaun Best brings together biography and the sociology of knowledge to demonstrate that there are links between the phases of Parsons theorizing the political, economic and social problems facing the United States; the circumstances in which he found himself and the intellectual decisions he made about what to publish. The assumption which underpins Parsons' work is that knowledge is produced by people in particular historical conditions, grounded in sensory experience, exercising choice, judgment and reflection on those experiences. Thus, this book explores and evaluates Parsons' ideas and arguments in relation to developments in social theory since the 1970s.
Bringing together leading interpreters of Zygmunt Bauman's sociology, this volume thinks with and beyond Bauman's work in order to show its continued relevance as a theory in its own right, as an object of criticism and as a stepping stone towards a fuller understanding of contemporary society. The volume deals with some proposed omissions and absences in Bauman's sociology, with chapters comparing Bauman's ideas to those of other prominent social thinkers as well as chapters devoted to teasing out some problems and pitfalls in his work. Paying attention to central concepts and themes of Bauman's thought, authors engage with various aspects of his work, considering potential deficiencies in his ethical perspective, his neglect of the religious dimensions of modernity, his lack of consideration for ethnicity and gender, his overlooking the importance of socialisation in liquid modernity and his problematic argument for individual choice and freedom in a world that is increasingly closed down by consumer capitalism. Beyond Bauman aspires to show that despite Bauman's status as a key sociological thinker, there are also certain deficiencies in his work demand critical discussion. It will be of use to scholars of sociology, contemporary society, social theory and modernity.
This book examines how 'Therapeutic Recreation' transforms the social health of children enduring or recovering from life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and leukaemia. With studies drawn from 'Serious Fun' projects in the USA, the UK, France, Ireland and Israel, the author explores how camp experiences in convivial circumstances help to bring about healing. Employing central concepts from sociology and anthropology, such as 'liminality', 'mimesis' and 'salutogenesis', Healing Rites of Passage explains why a brief secluded holiday can reform the campers' shared situation of life-threatening illnesses towards health and flourishing. The whole process can be understood in terms of a 'rite of passage', as structured camp experiences enable children to shed previous 'sick roles' and pass through a series of challenges in order to achieve social re-integration with a renewed zest for living. An empirically grounded study that reveals the analytic value of master concepts in the social sciences, this book will appeal to scholars in the fields of sociology, anthropology, paediatrics, social theory and the sociology of health, illness and medicine.
This book offers a political anthropological discussion of subversion, exploring its imbrication with technological and divinization practices, and uncovering some of its particular effects on human existence, from prehistory until the contemporary age. Subversion is often romanticized as a means of opposing or undermining power in the name of supposedly universal values, yet techniques of subversion are actually deployed by people of all modern political and philosophical persuasions. With subversion having become a tool of mainstream 'power' that threatens to dominate social and political reality and so render the populace servile and subject to a generalized culture industry, Divinization and Technology examines the ways in which technology and divinization, with their efforts to unite with divine powers, can be brought together as modalities of subversion.
Bringing together some of sociology's most distinguished scholars, Gerhard Lenski's Sociological Theories: Assessments, Extensions, New Directions critically assesses the influential social theories and monumental intellectual contributions of Gerhard Lenski in and beyond the discipline of sociology. For more than six decades, Lenski has been one of the most prominent and significant theorists of religion, social stratification, and ecological-evolutionary sociology. This is the first book to provide a systematic evaluation of Lenski's career and body of work, the ways in which his theories have been applied and extended in multiple disciplines, and his most recent work in the study of social change, inequality, and human evolution. Whether the focus is on religious, economic, racial, gender, or other social groups over the past 10,000 to 12,000 years, Gerhard Lenski and the distinguished scholars in this book have produced theories and research of great insight.